Thursday, November 5, 2015

Her Cup is Always Half Full

With the birth of our second son set to happen any day now, I went back and started looking through some of my earlier blogs to see what I was writing about before Master Blackwell arrived.

I looked through the serious posts. The ones that were less than serious and all the ones in between in the days and weeks bookending the boy's birth.

As I read through these posts I noticed that I tend to use certain words and turns of phrase repeatedly. For instance I say, "No sir," or "No ma'am," frequently. I'll throw in a "dammit" and boy, do I love me some em-dash. For you non-punctuation nerds an em dash is one of these "—".  Read down another couple paragraphs, I'll no doubt use one.

Another feature that makes its way into this space is the phrase "the cup is half full." It's not necessarily something I think about using; it just happens. I've used it in both of my previous two posts, purely by accident. It's a phrase that says a lot. It speaks to a worldview. Perhaps it's just laziness on my part and it's become a crutch. Doesn't matter.

For every queen, a throne. When a pregnant woman gets
tired of walking, anything becomes a chair. 
What does matter is that I know why "the cup is half full" is so present in my life that it's become a go-to phrase for me and makes its way into so many of my posts — it's because of my wife.

When you marry sunshine, this is bound to happen. And, make no mistake, I married sunshine.

Before I continue, let me make a few things clear. I'm well aware that Mrs. Blackwell is far from perfect (insert joke about her questionable taste in men here).

She's got a plan for everything. I mean everything. And she's not always keen to let everyone in on the plan. Instead she often orchestrates from the shadows. Working the small decisions that lead to the big ones. This is what most smart women do — or so I've come to believe.  In the meantime, most husbands are left with the mistaken impression that they actually have a say in what's happening. So maybe that's a "me" problem more than a "her" problem.

Mrs. Blackwell also regularly seeks feedback on her behavior and her decisions. If I had a dollar for every time she's asked me "How many pieces of candy is too many to eat at once?" I could retire. (By the way the answer is anything more than four.)

She'll eat something, or drink something, or touch something, or spend too much time doing something, and then she'll ask me, "You don't think that's bad, do you?" thus making me responsible for whatever level of regret she assumes.

Since she's been pregnant she's been snoring. And I don't mean snoring in the traditional sense, I mean snoring to a cartoonish degree. It sounds like someone's shaking a plastic cup full of marbles as hard as they can. Two nights ago, while seeking refuge in another bedroom, I could hear my wife snoring through the walls. Plain as day, I could hear it.

So, now that we know she's not perfect, and we know that I've got a great deal of explaining to do after she reads this, I can continue.

In Mrs. Blackwell's world, the cup is always half full. The clouds aren't lined with silver, they are silver, miraculously suspended there for us all to enjoy along with the sun and stars. With every bit of bad, there is good.

For the longest time, I chalked this up to a number of factors: her upbringing, genetic predispositions, environment. Of course it's a combination of all those. But the most important factor, I believe, is that it's a choice.

Soon to be plus one. 
She makes the decision — and it is often a conscious one — each and every day to see the positive. As she makes her way through the world and life confronts her with challenges, negativity, and cynicism she consistently meets them with alacrity. When you do this every, single day, it's a habit, and becomes who you are. She makes the choice to be that, daily.

So, earlier this week when we were at the doctor and we got a sliver of less-than-great news, I was not surprised to see her response.

The specifics, without getting too specific, are that the unborn little Blackwell has made himself quite comfortable in Mrs. Blackwell's tummy. He's so comfortable in fact that he shows little sign of wanting to leave.

So, all of the natural telltale signs that birth is imminent are not present. There's only so much time that he can stay in there before we'll have to make a decision about how to proceed.

With the expectation of a timely, natural childbirth now very much up in the air, I was thrown for a loop, though I think I successfully managed to conceal my disappointment. Naturally, Mrs. Blackwell was discouraged too. How could you not be?

But, because she is who she is, I wasn't surprised in the least to see her take in all the information at hand, digest it, think about all the options and then flip the switch back toward being positive.

Just like that.

Moments like these you have to admire this kind of aplomb. You also have to enjoy the fact that, when you do it every, single day with the small things, it becomes habitual. It's ingrained in you and at the ready when you need it for life's bigger challenges.

It also has the side benefit of helping to make sure your husband's cup is half full too.

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